Chairperson of Council, Mr Serobi Maja
Deputy Chair of Council, Thovhele Kennedy Tshivhase
Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Ndanduleni Bernard Nthambeleni
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Operations, Dr Robert Martin
University Registrar, Prof Edward Nesamvuni
President of Convocation, Mr Levy Ndou and
Members of Convocation present,
Director Student Affairs, Mr Lufuno Tshikhudo
SRC President Mr Tsundzuka Hakamela
Members of Council and Senate
Academic and Administrative Staff
Sponsors of best performing student awards
Parents and spouses
Ladies and gentlemen.
Let me begin by thanking you for your attendance at this auspicious occasion, which is a celebration of the hard work, natural talent, grit and determination of the graduating class of 2019.
It gives me great pleasure to be here addressing you on this day having assembled from various corners of the country to pay tribute to the graduates.
I would like to extend a word of welcome to the Vice Chancellor and Principal, Dr Ndanduleni Bernard Nthambeleni, who was recently installed to lead a formidable team of academics and staff.
I would also like to thank the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford, for having steered this great university during the time of transition.
The University of Venda continues to pursue its vision with focus and fervour, ‘to be at the centre of tertiary education for rural and regional development in Southern Africa’. This conscious pursuit positions the university as a beacon of light that signifies hope for the province of Limpopo and our nation at large.
I continue to be encouraged by the contribution the University of Venda has made in its quest to find research questions that respond to the problems of South African society.
Over the years the work of this university has and continues to contribute immensely to the socio-economic development of the region and the entire nation.
In all 3066 students are graduating from the University of Venda this year.
These are graduates from School of Agriculture; School of Education; School of Law; School of Environmental Sciences; School of Health Sciences; School of Management Science; School of mathematical and Natural Sciences and School of Human and Social Sciences.
An even closer look at the certificates, diplomas and degrees to beconferred shows that there are 171 certificates, 156 diplomas, 2478 Bachelor degrees, 188 Honours degrees, 53 Master’s degreesand 20 Doctoral degrees.
On this day, allow me to convey hearty congratulations to the graduandi who spent sleepless nights preparing and submitting themselves for academic tests, tutorials, examinations and thesis over the past year. Your perseverance has paid dividends.
Your achievements testify that education remains the foundational doorway to living a purposeful life that is driven by values, thoughts, decisions and actions informed by the scholarship of a reasoning mind.
In congratulating you, we cannot leave out your parents and members of the communities from where you came whose love and unstinting support nourished your ambition to raise the bar.
Education remains a critical instrument that enables and equips humanity with intellectual, scientific and creative means to make our world better in pursuit of a sustainable future. We look to education for the betterment of the human condition in all its forms.
The late Rev W.R. Inge once said that education is the knowledge not of fact alone, but of value. So, we applaud the university staff and leadership for helping to shape the values of our young people.Servant and principled leadership that bends the arc of history is more precious than gold.
Your achievements today are but the first step in a journey of self-discovery and the ongoing pursuit of your purpose in the world. Ahead of you lie countless new vistas of opportunity that invites you to share your skills, integrity, knowledge and experience with those around you.
Embracing the spirit of making a difference and thus contributing to the development of your country and humanity, is a noble cause befitting a graduate of the University of Venda.
Contributing to the success of your community and helping others in your families and neighbourhood is the most fitting way to thank your parents, families and sponsors for having sacrificed so much to get you here.
We need graduates that embrace the ethos of collectivism, which teaches us that our shared destiny as human beings means that we have a responsibility towards improving the future for our fellow man so we can end poverty and inequality.
I wish you the best for the future. Make the University of Venda proud by being hard working, innovative, committed and ethical in your future roles in the workplace and leadership. Be incorruptible in your ideas as well as in your conduct; equally avoiding corruption of money and corruption of ethics.
By hard work, commitment and innovation in whatever institutions you will be attached to, you will be enhancing the prestige of this university. As new graduates, you stand poised to enter a new stage of your lives, intersecting the professional, the personal and the political. Many of the choices you will be asked to make daily will ask questions of your personal belief system and world outlook; silently and stridently inquiring about the limits, strength and resolve of the values you purport to stand for.
In remaking both ourselves and our societies, we are required to realise that we are never locked in the stagnant waters of our past, and can propel our societies forward and redirect the tides of time. Collectively, we can create ourselves in a different and more united image, in sharp contrast to the segregational historical epochs that continue to impact our national and international characters.
We form ourselves in conversation with the frontiers that appear before us: sometimes hemmed in by the way they seek to abbreviate who we are and at other times becoming the frontline soldiers that seek to break their boundaries.
I hope that you will be the ones who shatter glass ceilings and never consider your work done, when success and its privileges arrive.
However, there will be multiple times when your efforts will be met with failure. The world renowned author J.K. Rowling reminds us that “it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default”
In such moments of failure, hold firm in the belief that the principles that inform your actions are unassailable and stay true to the loftiest human ideals.
Oliver Wendell Holmes junior taught us that “when we were young our hearts were filled with fire ̶ and as life is action and passion, a man must share in the actions and passions of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived at all”
Equip yourself for life, not solely for your own benefit but for the benefit of the whole community.
Once again, as we congratulate the graduandi and their parents, it would be amiss not to acknowledge the lecturers who instruct, inspire and inform the growth path of students throughout their academic careers as well as the administrators who facilitate the functioning of all aspects of this great university.
I thank you.